Travel agents nationwide spat up tonsils over Webjet’s blockchain promise for agents. But what does it mean?
As a sel tech geek I’ve always been fascinated by crypto currency. Bitcoin and the rise and fall of “Dread pirate Roberts” is a once in a generation event which threatens to change the way things are done forever.
I wrote about blockchain travel on KarryOn in August this year. The key topics relevant to travel include:
– Lower costs of transporting cash between nations
– Smart contracts which increase trust/remove corruption
– “Decentralised trust” means a platform is very, very hard to hack
I don’t think John G. reads my work, but if he did, he would be chortling as it would appear that somewhere late last year Webjet were chatting with Microsoft and working actively with them in April this year.
Webjet is facilitating a Microsoft introduction as a trailblazer in the global travel industry. It will scare many organizations who will fall by the wayside. The AFR article says a lot more.
As confirmed by Microsoft, “Webjet was the first travel industry blockchain in development globally.”
Webjet and block chain?
At the moment, they are using the technology for communication/transactions between their own divisions. This is another way of saying we are practicing to do business with everyone else when they are ready to catch up. Costs will go down, experience will go up.
It means that when everyone else is happy to take payment in crypto currency, Webjet will bring the business.
Webjet for agents?
Travel agents in Australia are not really in love with Webjet. The AFR article infers that this will deliver benefits to travel agents….what?
“Webjet managing director John Guscic told The Australian Financial Review its blockchain is focused on its business-to-business (b2b) wholesaling arm, which offers hotels to travel agents, and that it promised to cut out the expensive errors that occur in various stages of the travel booking supply chain.
“The dirty secret of the global hotel industry is that roughly one in 25 transactions globally end up with breakage where someone provides a service and doesn’t get paid for it … which is an enormous number,” Mr Guscic said.
Whilst you would like to think all of the technologies that connect you to hotels are robust, they are not. I saw it through my mum’s hotel and tech integration. There are multiple platforms owned by multiple companies competing across time zones and currencies to connect a booking to a hotel. It does fail. Four percent? Hard to validate.
By highlighting this figure Webjet serves to undermine any existing system whilst offering guarantees that newly designed technology will deliver greater reliability.
B2B is only a step away from B2C and Webjet is B2B2C. So this platform will ultimately underpin B2C sales.
But what a great way to debug the technology, by using travel agents, who, if something goes wrong, you blame them. Then later…. Shift people towards direct bookings…. On the same, trouble-free platform…
Should you be worried?
You do need to know this is an absolute game changer. If not before now, you can expect that helloworld and Flight Centre will be heavily investing in these technologies as it is the way forward. Will it be good for travel? Hard to tell – but whilst it won’t change the hotel room, it may will change the way you book it.
Webjet B2B account anyone? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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